BOSTON (CBS) — At least the Celtics have Jayson Tatum. Unfortunately, Tatum and the Celtics won’t be playing basketball for a while, with Boston’s season coming to an end Tuesday night with a Game 5 loss to the Nets.
Tatum led the way for Boston with 32 points and nine rebounds, and the Celtics did hang around into the fourth quarter, as Brooklyn didn’t come out with much energy for an elimination game. But ultimately, the Nets’ vast advantage in talent outweighed Boston’s spunk, and Brooklyn won 123-109.READ MORE: Patriots Release Kicker Roberto Aguayo, Long Snapper Wes Farnsworth
Tatum had to do all the heavy lifting for Boston throughout the series with Jaylen Brown sidelined, and averaged 30.9 points over the five games.
“Yeah I’m mad that we lost. First time being eliminated in the first round,” Tatum said after the game. “It’s not the way that we envisioned this season going. But I guess it’s a learning experience that myself and everyone else can take with them and learn a lot from it.”
Brooklyn’s star trio was too much for Boston to handle on Tuesday. James Harden was a magician with 34 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds on Tuesday night, while Kyrie Irving dropped 25 points on his former team. Kevin Durant added 24 points for Brooklyn.
The Nets went on a three-point rampage late in the game, and finished 15-for-32 from behind the arc. Boston was just 11-for-40 from three-point range.READ MORE: Celtics Host Six Players For Pre-Draft Workout, Including Auburn's Sharife Cooper And Texas A&M's Jordan Hall
The undermanned Celtics were without Kemba Walker and Robert Williams for the second straight game, but got 17 points from Romeo Langford, who started his second straight game. Boston also got a surprising 13 from Jabari Parker in his 13 minutes off the bench. Marcus Smart struggled throughout the game though, shooting 5-for-17 overall and 1-for-10 from three, and had just 14 points on the evening.
Brooklyn had a 14-point lead at one point in the third quarter, but the Celtics were able to cut it down to seven by the time the fourth quarter rolled around thanks to a nice buzzer-beater by Tatum. It looked like an early 8-2 run by the Nets in the fourth would seal the deal for Brooklyn, but the Celtics kept fighting, making it an eight-point game on a driving bucket and foul by Evan Fournier.
But Durant and Irving hit back-to-back threes and the Brooklyn lead was 103-89 with 7:18 to play. Harden added a three of his own after a hoop by Fournier, and the Nets lead ballooned to 15. It was a laugher the rest of the way, as Brooklyn held a 22 point lead with three minutes to play.
The Celtics now head into an offseason with plenty of questions, while the Nets advance to a second-round meeting with the Milwaukee Bucks.MORE NEWS: WATCH: Tom Brady Once Again Is Not Afraid Of 'The Madden Curse'
“We have some really good players and some proven guys, but we have to improve,” head coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday night. “There are several ways to do that. You can improve through continued development and the right work ethic, and then obviously the ability to acquire people. This team that beat us is a very good team. There are very good teams across the East and we have to get better.”